Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Tally Youngblood is anxiously awaiting her sixteenth birthday. Why? Well once she turns sixteen she will be reunited with her BFF Peris, but more importantly than that, she will finally be pretty. That’s right, at the moment, Tally is living amongst the Uglies.

“Uglies” is set in a post-apocalyptic world where a mysterious global catastrophe has pretty much wiped out most of the planet as well as its inhabitants. Several hundred years later, the survivors (or at this point generations later) fearful of war and violence - now cities are known as independent states. These cities have agreed to certain standards for the greater good. For instance at the age of sixteen you undergo major plastic surgery and are moved to new living quarters in a town known as, you guessed it, “Prettytown” - where you live it up with other pretties just like you - partying and just having a grand ol’ time.

A couple of months prior to their sixteenth birthday, Tally meets Shay. They become fast friends and tend to hang out and play tricks together. But after several weeks Tally realizes that there’s something different about Shay. For one, she doesn’t want to be pretty, she actually thinks she’s not ugly. Which to Tally is quite surprising since everyone knows you are ugly before the operation. Secondly, she keeps talking about a secretive place called the Smoke and a mysterious friend named David. Shay eventually runs away to the Smoke the day before her sixteenth birthday leaving Tally behind with a set of cryptic directions in case she decides to forgo her dream of being pretty. But Tally has no intention of running away - her dream has always been to be pretty. That is until Special Circumstances (an organization like the FBI) gets involved and gives her the ultimatum of being pretty or staying ugly forever but in the process she’ll have to betray her friend and all the inhabitants of the Smoke. That is, of course, if she can decipher Shay's directions and makes it there alive.

Although I did find it a bit difficult at first to understand what was going on, once I actually started understanding about pretties, uglies, etc., I really enjoyed this dystopian future. I love anything post-apocalyptic - and reading about a world where technology surpasses ours, where there's a magnetic grid running beneath the surface that allows the residents to travel via hoverboards and/or hovercrafts, is a treat. I liked the fact that it had an underlying thread about recycling and taking care of our planet. And like most teens today - Tally and Shay were facing some of the same issues - low self-esteem, peer pressure, etc. I loved when they would mention the Rusty's (the people who were living before the big catastrophe... or us). It was a mystery that little by little unraveled itself on what and why the world was the way it is in their time. I will forewarn that it ends rather abrubtly, but do not fret as there is a sequel.

With that said, although a bit confusing at first, stick through the first couple of chapters and you will find yourself completely immersed in a unique world full adventure, suspense and even a little romance thrown in there for good measure.


Tales of Whimsy said...

Your reviews always impress me.

Jessica said...

Well said! Now I feel like re-reading this book. :)
Thankfully Pretties picks up where this one leaves off.

Veens said...

i have not read this genre.. I have the ebook... and I need to get to it soon! Great review as always!

Kailana said...

Glad you enjoyed this in the end. I really liked this series. I read the entire thing earlier this year!

Unknown said...

Thanks for the tip! I'm still planning to read this one by the end of the year.

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